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Removing the Troops
By Tyler W. Dally

What ever happened to the "Axis of Evil?" Well, we already know what fate has fallen upon the Butcher of Baghdad. But what of the other two deleterious despots? As for Iran, we will have to wait and see. However, events have been accelerating in the Korean Peninsula, but no one in the media seems to be noticing.

The United States has declared the removal of the majority of its troops from what is known as the Joint Security Area in the Demilitarized Zone, or the DMZ The Demilitarized Zone in Korea is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a Buffer Zone between North and South Korea.1 Initially stated as an effort to give South Korea a more prominent role in defending itself2 it now becomes clear that the true motivation is the ongoing quagmire in Iraq. The Pentagon announced May 18, 2004 that it would send 3,600 soldiers from the 2nd Brigade of the Army's 2nd Infantry Division from the DMZ to help out in Iraq. The move marks a nearly 10 percent depletion of the forces in South Korea. Illuminated by this decision is how thinly stretched the U.S. military is due to the number of troops Bush has deemed necessary to dispatch to Iraq. How much longer can the operation in Iraq be sustained, and if it continues, what other ventures must be abandoned in order to perpetuate it? Furthermore, it assumes that South Korea is capable of fending off an attack from more than one million North Korean troops. The last time South Korea was in this position more, than 880,000 soldiers lost their lives, and this count does not include the civilian toll.

The evacuation has not been received well by the leadership Pyongyang, North Korea. The fear is that it violates the Armistice Agreement that was signed by the U.S. and North Korea which ended the Korean War, but was not signed by South Korea. In fact, it was interpreted by the paranoid regime as "preparations for a preemptive attack". This comes from a statement released by a spokesman for the Korean People's Army, or KPA, which also said that North Korea would be forced "to take whatever strong measure to protect its own security."3 Why is North Korea mad that America is leaving?

North Korea is thought to have enough plutonium for eight bombs. That number goes beyond self- defense. There are notorious tunnel diggers and extensive networks that extend deep into the DMZ, and some may reach the interior of South Korea. An attack, such as a bomb placed within one of these tunnels, is not beyond comprehension, dispelling the deterrence position the North Koreans have thus far claimed. As time goes on, North Korea extracts more spent fuel from its reactors, and continue to refine it in order to build more weapons. The Bush administration has so far not taken the threat seriously as evidenced by the withdrawal from the DMZ.

Abandonment of the DMZ leaves South Korea open to attack from a belligerent enemy to the North and would be foolish. Provoking one of the regimes that, as Bush claimed in his 2002 State of the Union Address, "threaten the peace of the world" is tantamount to derelict foreign policy.4. Provocation may be the hidden agenda. Undoubtedly the U.S. response to such an attack would mandate a nuclear strike, and the invasion of 1950 shows North Korea's willingness to act in the face of such detrimental consequences. North Korea has improved its nuclear capabilities, without improving its diplomacy, and the U.S. administration must reconsider agitating the desperate dictatorship. The world cannot afford to have the "Leader of the Free World" acting so ineptly. The cowboy from Crawford is negligent, and irresponsible in his foreign policy decisions, and the welfare of us all hangs in the balance. It is definitely time for a regime change, but it must be a domestic deposition that should launch the "New American Century."

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